Improving Effectiveness of Knowledge Graph Generation Rule Creation and Execution
Jah is never too late.
Jah is always on time.
28 years have passed. Wauw. 28 years. If you would have asked the 15-16 year old version of me what I wanted to become, he would have said a fighter pilot in the army. Yeah, might not be what you would have expected. But not that strange either, considering that it's in the top 15 kids' dream jobs (based on the first hit on Google. A totally scientific, reliable reference I know.) How things have changed. The reason why that never happened is because I had to bury that option the moment they told me that you can't become a pilot if you don't have a 20/20 vision. And I was already wearing glasses. However, because it was not a real real dream, I quickly managed to get over it and move on with my teenage life (woohoo video games). I graduated from high school and decided to go to Ghent University to become a Software Engineer (I liked computers), where I graduated in 2014.
Discipline and hard work, instilled in me by my parents at a young age. That is the reason why I graduated from high school and university. You don't need anything else. Some would argue that talent has something to with it. Bullshit. Talent might give you a headstart, but the outcome at the finish line is determined by your own hard work.
After starting university in 2009, I joined one of the local dance schools in Ghent, B.O.S.S. Dance Complex in October the following year. Little did I know back then the impact it would have on my life: I call myself a dancer before anything else. I began taking one class a week. Hip Hop Lyrical, every Friday evening from 20:00 till 21:00. Every semester I took one or more extra classes. Hip Hop Basic. Hip Hop Open Level. Ragga, which lead me to discover Dancehall. Modern. Jazz. Krump. I even attempted Ballet a few times. Yes, a sight to admire I can guarantee you that.
A new world had been opened. A world that many considered was the opposite of the scientific universe that I was exploring at the university. Some claimed that I was walking two paths that should not be combined. Or could not be combined. Getting a master degree at a university and dancing 20 to 25 hours a week at the same time. They said "why would you wanna do both. University is more important after all. And it's pretty impossible to combine in any case." But to say it in the words of the late Nelson Mandela "It always seems impossible until it's done."
I've never met adversity in my life, in the common meaning of the word. I have never had to worry about money. I never had to worry about going to school. I never had to deal with my parents being divorced. I never had to worry about having food for the next meal. I never had to worry about not having presents for Christmas or my birthday. Because of my parents: they worked hard so they could and can provide my brother and me with the best. I never had to deal with life-threatening diseases, in the strict sense. I never had to worry about my grades. Consider this bragging if you want, but I've put in sufficient effort at school and my grades reflected that. I could immediately start my PhD at Ghent University after graduation and didn't have to worry about a job. Looking at it that way: I never met adversity in my life.
So when the moment came that through a series of injuries I couldn't dance anymore, the phrases "but how can you feel sad? Ok you can't dance anymore, but you don't have to worry about money. You have a job. Some people have it worse," were often fired at me at moments when I was "sad". Or "in a bad mood", which I apparently was not entitled to have. Apparently I shouldn't have let it influence my interaction with others, because it's not their fault after all. Easier said than done, by people who haven't just lost the most important thing in their lives and who clearly understand everything that is going on in your mind, and heart. I will ask you this: have you ever gone through a period of time when you didn't have a reason to wake up anymore; when you went to sleep wishing that there was no next day?
I've walked through the valley of the shadow of death and it ain't pretty. It ain't pretty. And I honestly hope that nobody reading this has to ever deal with that. Because there were days, weeks, months that I believed that I would never return from that place. The valley of the shadow of death. But if it learned me one thing then it's at least this: the only reason I can say that there were only shadows in the valley is my love for my parents. The love that I now have because of the love they showed me for the past 28 years. I don't show it enough through my words or actions, but mom, dad, yes I love you both, with all my heart. Until the shadows are gone and long after that.
A little bit of advice. Call it a small rant, if you want. When talking to someone at his or her darkest moment, don't ever say that "you understand", you probably don't. You don't. Unless you have walked the path they have walked, you can only have a limited understanding of how they feel. You are downplaying their feelings as if it is just some trivial thing that everybody experiences and thus they should not make a fuss about it. Don't think so highly of yourself, that you understand everything that is happening around you. It's ok if you don't. Accepting that you don't, can be more liberating than you think. On that note: don't ever say "everything will be alright", you don't know that. You don't know that. Can you predict the future? Can you? It all might be with good intentions, but remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Having shattered dreams is worse than having no dreams at all.
But not all was grim, as I can say that I'm no longer residing at the valley of the shadow of death. I passed through it. Although it changed me forever. After looking for different things, hobbies to replace my love for dancing, as part of my quest to find my escape route out of that valley, I came to the conclusion that there is nothing that will ever replace dancing. So I made the decision that I will dance again or die trying. And I meant that in the literal sense, no metaphor, no reading between the lines here. Of course, as much I would have loved that thinking those words would suddenly fix everything, it didn't. My spirits had a hard time with the first doctor saying he couldn't do anything about my injuries. I cried a lot. My spirits had a hard time with the second doctor saying he couldn't do anything for me. I cried some more. At random moments. During a sad song in the car. My spirits had a hard time with the third doctor saying he couldn't do anything for me. I cried. When my friends were talking about their future, about their plans, while I had nothing left to care about. It was not until the fourth doctor who suggested surgery that I saw the gates opening again to that world I entered in 2010. A surgeon from the Ghent University Hospital, not unimportant to mention. Dr. Wim Bongaerts, you might never read this: for you this surgery was a routine one, as you said yourself the moment you gave me the required hospital papers. For me it changed my life. It saved my life: I'm dancing again. I will never be able to repay you for that.
Besides sparking the fire in my feet again, this turning point in my life also signaled the start of the most fun, interesting, exciting part of my PhD, although both are unrelated. Paths that sometimes appear so different, reinforce each other in ways that are hard to explain. The same goes for people, friends, colleagues, dancers, and fellow competitors.
Here we are now. The year 2019. Submitted my PhD book to Ghent University, which I have been part of for the last 10 years now. My university based in Ghent, which I call my city when people from abroad ask me where I'm from, although I don't live here.
I know that often the thank you-part is mostly about the people who contributed to the PhD and related activities. Mine will be about life. It's only at a limited number of moments that we can really separate everything: school vs hobbies, family vs friends, life vs work, life vs love, studying vs learning, irrelevant vs irreplaceable. Life is not a pool of water drops that you carefully select. Life is an ocean of vastes amounts of water that contribute to who you are: buckets of experience, subconscious underwater rivers, and currents that we try to ride or avoid.
A super big thank you to all medical personnel that helped and continue to help me: my GP Dr. Isabelle De Leenheer, my podiatrist Michaël De Geyter, my surgeon Dr. Wim Bongaerts, my physiotherapists Kris De Witte, and Jasmien Van Wambeke.
To my favorite fellow graduates of Ghent University: Gertjan, Simon, Jens, Emanuel, Yves, Nils, Timothy, and Nicola. The moments shared during those five years of classes. The projects we completed together. The times we went out for the night. Cliche I know, but I could not have wished for a better group of friends to experience my student life. Full of jokes and silliness (cough playing Worms on the iPad during class cough), but also seriousness when needed. Thank you all for everything.
To my colleagues who accompanied me during my second adventure at Ghent University: Anastasia, Ben, Sven, Ruben V., Joachim, Miel, Dörthe, Gerald, Martin, Julián, Pieter C., Ruben T., Erik, Pieter B., Femke O., Alexander, Tom, Dieter D. P., Dieter D. W., and Laurens. You all contributed in your own, unique way. But of course there are a few people that I want to thank specifically. To Erik: you said that I would be thankful that you convinced me to write my first journal, although I was not really in favor of that. Well, you can now say "told you so" haha. But credit where credit is due! To Ruben V.: as one of my PhD advisors I can thank you not enough for the help and guidance from the beginning to finish. To Sven: although you are not working on the same topics as me and Ben, you are still part of our team! And you joining has only made the team more complete and of course funnier! In case this makes you blush, don't blush for too long because I'm not sure if that is how you should spend your time. To Ben: I'm so happy that we both did our PhD at the same time. Sharing experiences (Piña coladas at conferences woohoo!) and annoyances and frustrations together (insert example yourself). Based on how we get along, I truly believe that you would perfectly fit in my group of university friends: you like computers and beer and so do they. Thanks for everything so far and for everything that is still to come, whether it are pirates, parrots, unicorns or other mythical and less mythical creatures and ideas! To Anastasia: where should I start? I has been quite the journey hasn't it? As my closest PhD advisor, I'm pretty sure that you agree that I'm not always the easiest person to work with at certain times. And from time to time I also had the uncontrollable feeling to strangle you, but look at us now: I'm submitting my PhD and you are watching your first PhD student (sorry Ben) submitting his PhD. Although it has my name on the cover, I will always see it as something we did together. Thanks for everything! Insert a big hug
To my Greeks Vicky and Sotiris: Παιδιάαααα! Of course I have to include you in this too. It would be crazy if I didn't do that! We met at a conference in 2015 and you invited me to visit you when I was in Greece, and that, like, actually happened! And since then we keep visiting, talking, calling eachother. Whether you are in Thessaloniki or London, who cares?! All the laughs we shared. All the food. Bougatsa! Yes!! OMG frappeeeeeee! I cannot thank you and your family enough for the hospitality you showed me. To Michalis: always be nice to your sister, but not too nice, she doesn't deserve it haha! To κυρία Matina: thank you for welcoming me in your home, where a guest never starves! You already know this, but it has to be said again: you can be really proud of your daughter. Moving alone to a different country, getting a job, living all alone. She did that! To κύριε Anestēs: I'm not gonna tell you too how proud you should be of Vicky or we will never hear the end of it (poor Sotiris)! Also a big thank you for welcoming me. It was always a pleasure to visit. I know you are not a man of many words, so when you said "you are like a son to us" the moment I saw you for the last time, in London, it touched me more than I would have ever thought. You are missed. To Vicky and Sotiris, again: Εεε καλε! We have to call again soon!! Σας αγαπώ!
To my Kobo Bruce: when I joined your dance school, I had no clue who you were, what you already achieved in the past, or what you would achieve in the future. You became my teacher when I started taking one of your Hip Hop classes. You became my mentor and coach when you gave me the male leading role in the school's show of 2013. Now, you are all of this and more: you are also my friend, together in the same crew and movement Kobo Power. Of all the people mentioned in this afterword, you are and always will be the one who understands best the dance journey I embarked on. You experienced in the past what I'm experiencing now. You sometimes had to deal with setbacks and disappointments that I have to cope with now too. We both know how it feels to win. We both know how it feels to lose. It's a long and sometimes lonely road, so I keep grinding, keep pushing, keep working, keep training, keep labbing, and keep battling. I will not quit. You know already. Thank you for everything you did so far. I will never forget, unlike others, and will never hold back in telling people that you are one of the main reasons that I'm that dancer that I'm now today. Bless.
To The Nine: we have all been friends since high school. I've met all of you at different times: some when I was 13 years old, some when I was 17 years old. With some of you I have been in the same class for one year or two years, with some never. Nevertheless, during those times bonds were being made that would last years. A couple of months ago, when I was telling that we were going celebrating the first bachelor party of one of you, people were surprised that after all these years after finishing high school we still keep in touch. It's not merely keeping in touch. We get together regularly, celebrate new year's eve together, birth days together, weddings together, random evenings at someone's place together. You guys are my best friends. Originally, the idea was to address all of you individually as I did with the others, but it felt kinda weird doing that. All the things of which I have the fondest memories were not merely shared with only one of you, but with at least three, four, five of you guys. Addressing each of you separately would break these memories into incoherent chunks incorrectly matched to each of you as individuals. Don't get me wrong. You all have your unique personalities, skills, and characteristics that make you who are and that guaranteed you a spot in The Nine. But to me, when I think about one of you will always think about all of you and when I think about all of you I will always think about each of you. I hope from the depths of my heart that you all achieve in life what you desire, whatever, wherever, and whenever that may be. Guys, I love you.
To my parents: as I said earlier, I don't show my gratitude enough, either through my words or my actions. So I find it more than fitting to compensate for that here and now, knowing very well that it will never be enough. Thank you for raising me the way you did. The fruits of this PhD are also for you to reap. The trophies that I lifted and will lift to the sky are a symbol of not only a proof of victory for me, but a proof of your caring and support. Thank you for my youth. Thank you for my education. Thank you for a roof above my head. Thank you for our house. Thank you for our home. Thank you for the food in my mouth. Thank you for the discipline you required from me. Thank you for your desire for me to be the best, better than the others, better than myself. Thank you for giving me a mother. Thank you for giving me a father. Thank you for you. Mom, dad, I love you both, with all my heart. Until the shadows are gone and long after that.